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2023 Healthcare Hero: Marina A. Creed

Marina A. Creed, UConn Health Director of the UConn Indoor Air Quality Initiative; Nurse Practitioner at the UConn Health Multiple Sclerosis Center Return to the honorees homepage
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Winner Category | Community Service - Advocacy/Policy

Marina Creed is a neuro-immunology nurse practitioner at the UConn Health Multiple Sclerosis Center and director of the UConn Indoor Air Quality Initiative.

She manages the care of hundreds of immunosuppressed patients and was motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect these patients from infections by becoming involved in public health.

What have been your significant contributions to your organization in the past year?

I founded the Indoor Air Quality Initiative with the goal of studying low-cost, high-efficiency air purifiers, which remove over 97% of viruses from the air in 30 minutes. The Corsi-Rosenthal Box do-it-yourself air purifier can be made from inexpensive materials by students and people of all ages and skill sets.

Together, our research team of faculty and students, spanning several departments, created and donated over 600 of these air purifiers to communities in need. Our team created a website and corresponding lesson plans for 5th grade, 8th grade and high school classes, to make these as part of a science project with important real-world utility.

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Tell us about a challenge in your job that you were able to overcome.

We needed funding to get off the ground. I networked with scientists across the globe over Twitter and landed a $300,000 grant given in cryptocurrency.

This was UConn’s first time accepting a cryptocurrency grant. The logistics of accepting this currency was a challenge, which our team was able to overcome.

What’s your next major goal and/or challenge?

To see public schools build the air purifiers annually, which brings students and teachers clean air for $4 per student per year.

Our lesson plans teach concepts about human health, air pollution, global warming and social/environmental justice. Once understood, students can build a tool to reduce their exposure to both indoor/outdoor air pollution.

Personal Side

Favorite way to relax: Listening to podcasts, spending time with my family

Hobbies: Running, gardening, horseback riding, playing with my young children

Favorite movie: “A League of Their Own”

Currently reading: “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

Favorite cause: Fighting negative social determinants of health through improved access to food and clean air.

Fun fact: I’m from Washington, D.C., and originally wanted to be a physicist.

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